12 January 2016

I was preparing my Duluth Canoe Pack today with wax in order to make it waterproof. When determining what to use, in my mind, I had two options: regular wax or petroleum based wax.

While there are a few items, like packs and bags, that are impregnated with a petroleum based, I did not want to do that with this pack. According to the manufacturer, either would have been fine. Filson’s, which was the oil-wax combo, was actually designed for re-treatment.

It did not take long to wax it up and it was not a difficult task. Given the option, in the future I will order one that is pre-treated just to save time since the cost difference is negligible.

I am reviewing my day and realize I was able to achieve a good number of tasks. Many of them were me getting prepared for an upcoming trip. It will be a short jaunt but it will get me outside for a while and let me exercise my brain and enhance my skills. The original intent for this trip is to work out any bushcraft skills we may have learned. Effectively this will be dirt time.

It amazes me how many people will read a subject and “learn” a task but will not put it into action to test themselves or see how it would work in a real life scenario. I think it is no different than someone who buys gear and lets it sit on the shelf until it is needed only to realize they do not really know how to utilize the gadget or widget. In essence, someone would be better off using their brains and the knowledge therein as opposed to weighing themselves down with more things to carry. Heaven forbid they have to bug out due to an impending doom scenario. They would probably die before getting ten miles due to the weight of their own gear.

Of course, I say this knowing that in my younger days I would carry a house on my back if it meant comfort because I was not sure what I was doing. As I started learning, I started dropping weight in my pack and what I would carry. I eventually got my backpack down to 25 pounds on one long camping trip, mainly because of canned foods and extra water for the dog.

I kept learning and got it down to fifteen pounds. While that is a good number, it did not include food. I keep telling myself that I am not an ultralight hiker so as long as the weight is not painful, I will be alright. However, there is something to be said about hiking into a campsite, with the mindset of me being comfortable while camping and it still weighing fifteen pounds INCLUDING food. (overnights usually are around 12 pounds)

My children and friends ask me how, and the answer is really simple, “I carry the rest of the weight in my head”. This means that even though I keep a lot of useless crap in the old gray matter, apparently I have a special place for things that are useful and things that can keep me out of a bind.

What is even funnier is the fact that I keep reading books from the old folks like Kephart, Sears, Beard, Kochanski, and Mears along with the journals of folks like Lewis and Clark and Uncle Daniel Boone. The information is priceless and am thankful for folks like Dave Canterbury, Steven Watts, and David Wescott that turned me on to such a world of knowledge. It truly opened my eyes to a ton of insight and even though it is old school, some of it is a new way of thinking for me.

I guess it is off to bed now. Something about a good night sleep that sets right with me and I can already smell the coffee.